VCU to drop SAT requirement

President Rao calls the test “fundamentally flawed”

Virginia Commonwealth University President Michael Rao, Ph.D., announced Tuesday that VCU no longer will require applicants with a high school GPA of 3.3 or higher to submit SAT scores, following a national trend toward relying on the GPA as a better predictor of student success.

About 800 universities around the country, including four in Virginia, already have dropped the requirement. VCU is the first of the three research universities in Virginia to do so. The SAT still will be required for some programs, such as engineering, and for some of the university’s endowed scholarships.

Rao emphasized that VCU is not lowering its quality standards for students who are admitted, rather it is emphasizing GPA over SAT scores since the GPA has proven to be a better determinant of how well a student will do in college. Also, Rao said, research has shown that the SAT has racial and socio-economic biases, and VCU’s internal research has verified that.

“We are not denying a transformative education to students who we know would flourish here just because they don't have a certain SAT score,” Rao said. “So beginning this fall, your ability to succeed at VCU will no longer depend on your ability to pass a test that’s fundamentally flawed.”

The announcement was made during Rao’s annual State of the University address before students, faculty and staff.

About VCU and VCU Medical Center

Virginia Commonwealth University is a major, urban public research university with national and international rankings in sponsored research. Located in downtown Richmond, VCU enrolls more than 31,000 students in 226 degree and certificate programs in the arts, sciences and humanities. Sixty-seven of the programs are unique in Virginia, many of them crossing the disciplines of VCU’s 13 schools and one college. MCV Hospitals and the health sciences schools of Virginia Commonwealth University comprise VCU Medical Center, one of the nation’s leading academic medical centers. For more, see